Saturday, 5 March 2016

Mother's Day Without Mum

'Are you doing anything with your mum for Mother’s Day?’ Oh god.

This question, when asked in general office conversation, used to bring on a kind of anxiety sweat and leave me wishing I could morph into Flat Stanley and escape under the door. Usually, a simple, ‘Nah, not much!’ would cover it and I’d swiftly make an ‘urgent’ phone call, praying the discussion would shift to last night’s Coronation Street by the time I had finished. The problem was, any level of truthful natter would have opened an uncomfortable can of worms. It turns out ‘My mum’s dead, actually,’ is not a workplace crowd-pleaser.

It’s not that I mind talking about it – I was fifteen when she died (the big C) and after you’ve said ‘she died’ enough times it becomes quite matter-of-fact. It just doesn’t feel that matter-of-fact for other people, who invariably feel the need to say that they’re sorry/they didn’t know/it must be so hard, to which it is customary to respond that it’s fine/it was a long time ago/you’re not upset. And by this point the YouTube clip of the Ninja Cats which has been providing belly laughs all morning has been turned off as a mark of respect, as tumbleweed crawls towards the photocopier.
One time, the casual question thrown my way was, ‘Help settle the debate Sarah – do you bother with Mother’s Day flowers for your mum or do you agree they’re a rip off?’ Oh dear. Think think think.

‘Erm…well, supermarket flowers aren’t always as pricey, and you have to expect some mark-up on these commercial days.’ Phew, awkwardness averted. (Much less awkward than the factual, ‘I don’t buy her flowers every year, just the years I’m taking a bunch to the spot we scattered her ashes.’)

The late '80s, with my mum and sister
To be honest, when February rolls around and all the ‘show her she’s really special’ Mother’s Day advertisements start popping up I have always had a bit of an internal groan. I stopped groaning in 2012 when I became a mother and, for the first time in a decade, Mother’s Day shifted from being a day I yearned to hide under my bed to a day I finally had a part in. Yet while Mother’s Day is easier for me since I have had the kids, the day-to-day feelings of loss and sadness at not having Mum here have greatly intensified.

Being a mum without mum here is hard. Four years into the parenthood adventure and practically-speaking I’m doing all right. I get through most weeks just fine - though it has to be said I’ve significantly lowered the bar on what ‘just fine’ means (sometimes the bar is on the floor). I have a great network of family and friends to help with the day-to-day logistical challenges, and not having Mum here to do the preschool run and take the kids to the seaside isn’t problematic.
It’s just sad. 

Last year we took Henry (three at the time) to London as a treat. We live in Devon, so the chaos and buzz of the capital blew his tiny mind in all the best ways and made for a pretty special trip. I was probably extra keen to take him to London because I have been holding such fond memories of the time my mum took me to London in the summer holidays (my sister had gone camping, my Dad had gone fishing, and London was a trip for just the two of us). The frustratingly sad thing about the exclusivity of our trip is that I no longer share the memories with anyone. My awe at seeing the Cirque du Soleil, the entire day we spent simply hopping on and off double decker buses… I have racked my brain trying to remember where we stayed, where we ate dinner, whether we went to the Natural History Museum or not. I will never know these things. 

Of course the biggest tragedy is that Mum never knew she was a grandmother. She never saw her daughters become mothers and she never got to stand in a draughty church hall proudly cutting the world-famous chocolate-button birthday cake she would lovingly have made for her grandchildren. They are missing out, too. Sometimes, when we’re heading off on a day trip and I get that familiar ‘Oh god, we’ve forgotten to pack something important’ feeling, it dawns on me that I have lived with a similar feeling for thirteen years. 

There is always something not there that should be there. Mum will never not be missing. She will never not be missed. 

Conversations about Mother’s Day no longer make my cheeks flush red or leave me staring at the floor. Sometimes, I embrace the commercialism and buy an overpriced bunch of flowers to take to her beach, though I’m just as likely to do that on her birthday, or on Boxing Day, which is the day she died. Sometimes, I wish she could join us for our Mother’s Day carvery but I don’t spend the meal absorbed in those thoughts because I invariably spend it picking up the food Jude has lobbed from his highchair and encouraging Henry to sing the Farty Bum Song at a slightly reduced volume. It’s one Sunday in the year when I relish a bit of pampering as payback for the tiny humans I birthed.

It’s all the other days, the ordinary days, which remind me what has been lost. For me, for Mum, for the boys.

Doesn’t cancer have a lot to answer for?

140 comments:

  1. Cancer does indeed have lot to answer for and your post is a beautiful tribute to your mum. I am sure she would have been very proud.

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  2. I'm nearly halfway through your book so haven't got to the bit about your mum yet but like you my mum died of cancer in 1997 when I was 5 so the ‘My mum’s dead, actually,’has come up plenty of times and is some what of a conversation ender or a conversation where I have to divulge my life story to someone I probably don't know that well. This is my 2nd Mother's day as a mum so I try and enjoy the day and be thankful for my little human I've created.

    Hope you have a nice Mother's Day x

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  3. Thanks for this. My Mum died last August so this is the first Mothers day without her. Nice to know I'm not alone (not nice that other people's mothers have died of cancer but I'm sure you know what I mean!)

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    1. My mum also died of cancer last August. We adopted our baby boy 4 weeks before she passed away. It is comforting knowing I am not the only person going through this but I do get what you mean. If only no one had to go through this x

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    2. My mum also passed away from cancer in August last year. We had our baby in Feb this year. Whilst she knew she was going to be a grandma, it kills me she isn't here and there is a massive hole in our lives that only she could have filled with her role as grandma. I know there are a lot of people in our situation but it doesn't make it any easier.

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    3. My mum also died last August, I was 6 weeks pregnant at the time and am now 34 weeks, not sure how I will feel without her here or how to prepare myself for it with a newborn. Completely relate to your post about the everyday thoughts I have of my mum. I find it particularly hard being the only woman in my immediate family as I only have a brother, and am constantly surrounded by males(as in my husband and dad! Ha!) life's a bitch! Xx

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    4. What a touching story... I lost my mom 23 years ago when I was just 7 from cancer and not a day passes without feeling a void in my life and emotions... I know it sounds weird and mean but i envy sometimes my friends when they talk to their mom on the phone or when they go visit her... i put trust in God every day and when i see the cruel and crazy world we live in i think God called our mothers toward Him for a good reason

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  4. I lost my mum 18 years ago when I was 18 years old (massive heart attack) and I have just become a first time mum 8 weeks ago. Your blog rings so true to me and I read it whilst sobbing as every one of your thoughts echoed mine! My only comforting thought is that my mum is where she was meant to be. She was never meant to get old. I miss her every day and that will never change, it just gets easier to deal with as time goes by. X

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  5. What a lovely post. I also lost my mum when I was 15 and I almost dread mothers day. It's not so much the day itself but the lead up with cards in the supermarket and restaurants advertising their special offers. The fact my sons never met her breaks my heart every day and I find it really hard to talk about her to them without breaking down. She would have loved my boys and they would have loved her. Tomorrow will be spent with my 2 boys "spoiling" me and my husband spending time with his mother. I long for someone to treat tomorrow. Love and hugs x

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    1. I agree. I often find the lead up to Christmas, birthday, new year, anniversary & Mother's Day worse than the actual day.

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  6. Beautifully written. You have touched my heart. Xx

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  7. I lost my mum to cancer when I was 14. Mothers day only became bearable when I had my little girl 2 years ago and your right it never leaves you you never stop missing them and it is the small things.

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  8. This will be my 6th Mother's day without my mum and cancer really has a lot to answer for. I was 5 months pregnant with my youngest at time so I understand your feelings about never meeting grandmother/grandchild. I always find Mother's Day bittersweet. Thank you for this post.

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  9. I lost my mum too at 15, it's such a bitter sweet time of year. I wish she was here to enjoy her grandchildren. But I also selfishly wish she was here for me. To read others are going through the same gives a strange sort of comfort. Hope you have a wonderful day with your family :)

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  10. Thank you. Tomorrow is my first mother's day without my mother.

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  11. I lost my mum to cancer 4 years ago, she never knew about her grandchildren either. I couldn't have put it any better than you have - that constant sense of something missing. It's also hard seeing my son with my mother in law - I love the bond they're developing, but it also reminds me of what he'll never have with my mum. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, and all of us who are missing our mums.

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  12. Beautifully written- my Dad died when my youngest was 28months and I read a quote by George Bernard Shaw which lifted my sad sole. ' life is a flame that is always burning itself out, but catches fire again every time a child is born' x

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    1. Oh, that's lovely. Thank you for sharing.

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    2. This is lovely xx

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  13. I love the way you mingle honesty and tenderness. And I agree with the comment above - a beautiful tribute to your mum x

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  14. I honestly think you have just put my life into words! I lost my mum to cancer before my children were born (ps my eldest is too called Henry and is 4!) I feel a part of my life has been taken that I will never get back and my sons are missing out on a grandma but I put a brave face on every day, dust myself off and tackle the day with my boys xx

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  15. My Mum died of cancer on 6th March 1996 so Mother's Day 2016 will be the 20th anniversary of her death (bummer I know). My son has just turned 4 and my daughter is 14 months. I'm no longer in contact with my Dad (his choice). My wife's Mum also died of cancer about 14 years ago and her Dad isn't any good at taking the children off our hands. We both miss our Mums and we both know that our kids are missing out on having grandparents, and especially grannies, to spoil them rotten and 'steal' them for a few hours now and then. They are too young to know any different at the moment, but I suspect they will realise as they get older and other kids talk about their grandparents. The best I can do is say things to my kids that my Mum would have said, play her funny games and keep her memory alive for them. I know she would have loved being a granny but some things are just not meant to be. We will enjoy tomorrow and raise a glass to them both. Happy Mother's Day to you and all your blog readers x.

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  16. This was so beautifully written, I am a 20 year old mummy to a nearly 5 year old daughter, who by the way could win awards for her tantrums�� I lost my step mum to ovarian cancer only 12 days ago, she had been fighting the battle for 2 years, I couldnt see for tears when I was wrapping my mums Mother's Day presents, thinking of the things that I didn't have the chance to get for my step mum, there was no difference in my love for my mum and my step mum. They have both down so much to better my life. I thank you so much for writing this, it made me smile and cry and you are doing an amazing job at being a mummy!x

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate to so much of what you said. My Mum killed herself on 27 Feb 2010 so Mothers Day is a challenge for me too made easier by becoming a Mum myself. I'll raise a glass to you tomorrow. G

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  18. Wonderful and true. My mum also lost her battle with cancer 9 years ago this April and she never knew her two grandsons either and sometimes you any help but indulge in the "what ifs" and "if only". It's a time for reflection and being a bit sad but also so grateful to be a mother myself and have two Healthy little boys. Thank you for your post. Makes me realise that we are not alone in our thoughts and feelings xxx

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  19. Cancer the f*****! Lost my mum and dad within 3 weeks of each other 3 years ago πŸ˜” And completely understand...it's all the little things the baby does that make you think about them even more than you usually do. Lovely tribute...😘

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  20. Beautifully written, it is exactly how my life has been! My mum died when I was 18 ( Also the big C) and I spent years fending off the Mothers Day questions until I had my own kids, it doesn't get easier and I do wish she was here for me to say Thankyou to but like you say it makes me all the more aware of the precious time with my own children. Xx

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  21. Heartfelt, and resonates with me too, as I lost my mum when I was 19 to the dreaded big 'C'. Looking back at all the things we have missed sharing, your blog is exactly how I also feel. Thank you for sharing, and know you are not alone. I am sure your mother would be very proud of you and your children.

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  22. This is exactly how I feel about my dad in the run up to father's day. He died when I was 23 (cancer too). These days it's the fact that he never got to experience being a grandad that breaks me. And that they never got to experience him. He would have been the bloody best. Lovely post.

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  23. Spot on, so glad I saw this. Forever missing my mum, & all the things she is missing now that I am a mum too xXx

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  24. I entirely understand all of these words, every part of what you have said I have lived through too. What an utterly crappy disease that stripped my son of his beautiful Grandma x

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  25. Your story echoes mine almost completely (Cancer, age 15, every single thing you say about living without a Mum) As the time passes it just carries on being sad. I miss her more as a Mum than ever. Love to you and all the "motherless daughters" out there. Terri xx

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  26. Cancer truly does have a lot to answer for! What a great post Sarah. Your Mum would be very proud I'm sure!

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  27. I lost my mum to cancer 7yrs ago on the 3rd March (so close to mothers day). I don't think the pain ever eases but you learn to cope better ie: not bursting into tears at the slightest mention. I'm pregnant at the moment with my first baby and I'm finding that I'm missing her even more, every girl just wants their mum at times like these. I hate when I hear people complain about having to choose a mother's day gift, I feel like screaming at them how damn lucky they are that they aren't taking flowers to a grave like me x

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  28. Mum's are invariably the linchpin of a family. When they pass, life is never the same again. We go on, but that hole that is left will never be filled. We learn to carry on but the sadness of mum missing out is there and rears its head at surprising times. I like to think my mum IS still here with us, somewhere. She is watching, she is smiling, she is singing along with us. Somewhere.

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  29. Mum's are invariably the linchpin of a family. When they pass, life is never the same again. We go on, but that hole that is left will never be filled. We learn to carry on but the sadness of mum missing out is there and rears its head at surprising times. I like to think my mum IS still here with us, somewhere. She is watching, she is smiling, she is singing along with us. Somewhere.

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  30. I lost my Mum in 1989 from cancer when I was just 11 & had my daughter in 2000 when I was 22. I still miss her everyday - my daughter is buying her prom dress this weekend & I want my Mum to see her first grandchild in it. It was tough battling through parenthood without her but you get there.

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  31. I know how you feel, it's so lovely yet so hard to read. Especially about Mums loss. It's hard to explain to others how it feels. Enjoys tomorrow, good luck. Love to you xx

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  32. Beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to your mum. I am sure she would be proud to see how life has turned out for you xx

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  33. Hi enjoy your Mother's Day with your family. My mother insisted on a card even though we lived on a different continent with Mother's Day on a different date, I always got it wrong, before Google. She never paid much attention to her two beautiful grand daughters. Now I have four beautiful grandchildren, but no guidance from my mother to follow, so I follow my lovely aunts way who was more a mum to me and a grandmother to my daughters than my mum. I refused to celebrate Mother's Day because Mother's Day is every day not when advertisers decide. I am glad you had a great relationship with your mum it is priceless

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  34. I am 32 and when my one & only daughter was 18 months old (she's now 3) I discovered I had the big C. I am lucky enough to still have my own mum and also to now be in remission but these words ring so true as everything I fear for my own daughter if my cancer ever comes back and I have to leave my baby. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure your mum would be so proud of you. Happy Mothers Day from one mummy to another x

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  35. My mom lost her fight against cancer last Friday, and wasn't well for a while, so the run up to mothers day has been he'll to be fair. I'm a mom myself to a 3 year old, so seeing her little face tomorrow will hopefully make things more bearable xx

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  36. This is very sad and accurate. I'm pleased to say,i still have my Mum to celebrate this day with, but I get this with father's day. I lost my father to cancer in 2012 and you just totally made me cry. Good, honest post x

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  37. This is my 2nd Mother's Day without my precious Mam, she also died of cancer which ravaged her body and spirit before she let go of life. I have no children so nothing to distract me from the biggest hole in my life, my Mam. Although this year is easier, last year I was taken by surprise by all the advertising around Mother's Day, I had never noticed before. Good to know I am not the only one, I felt like a lunatic as I lost respective on everything. They call it grieving. I left a lovely display of flowers today on her grave and thought happy thoughts. Thanks for your blog. Happy Mother's Day!

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  38. My Dad died at Christmas and I'm still getting to grips with the idea that he's not there for me to go to for advice and that I can't show him a video of my son walking and he won't be coming up at Easter with mum. I don't think of him everyday but there will always be that missing part to our family.

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  39. I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer. It will be five years on March 18. My youngest will never remember her as he was only 9 months old when she died. I hate Mother's Day.

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  40. Thank you for this. My Mum is currently in hospital with advanced lung cancer (she never ever smoked or drank) so I fear this may be our last Mother's Day having her here and my heart is breaking x

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  41. 13 years for me too. My mum died exactly 2 weeks after my first daughter was born, so my first Mother's Day as a mum was also my first without mine. I constantly miss not being able to ask for advice, to share the good and bad times and just to see the joy she would have had for her grandaughters.

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  42. My mother died when I was 17, of cancer that spread incredibly fast and I am so sad that she missed so much and I really resent that my son will never know her. I completely understand everything you're going through, and it's so frustrating that if her cancer had been caught earlier it likely would have been cured. I miss her more than I can say.

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  43. A very poignant read, reminding us that not everyone has a Mum to share Mothering Sunday celebrations with. We have shared your blog post on our social media pages. Thank you

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  44. Thank you for sharing. I lost my Mum in December, 5 days before Christmas.Just poured myself a large glass of wine after reading you lovely piece. Currently staying with my sister and we are fortifying ourselves for our first Mother's Day without her.

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  45. I'm reading the book. The chapter about your mum made me cry (very quietly at the end of a night feed at 4am). Lost my mum to cancer 11 years ago. This is my first mothers day as a mum myself. My daughter is almost 4 months old. I am having treatmeny for pnd. I don't feel like I've earned the right for mothers day to really apply to me, not yet anyway. It's still a sad day. I miss my mum more than ever. Big hug to every mum without a mum.xx

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    1. My daughter is also 4 months old. You have been there for her day and night for four months and carried her for nine. You most definitely earn the right to celebrate Mother's Day. Treasure it with your baby girl x

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    2. I too had pnd with all 3 of mine. It felt so unfair to not have my mum to sharemy children with. But we are mums who carried our babies and you deserve to celebrate your baby and being its mum. It will get easier for you. Take one day at a time xxxx sending you hugs xx

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  46. Tears streaming as I read these words. I lost my mum 5 years ago, and although I am a mum myself to to beautiful girls that loss on a daily basis is huge. The times I would love to have the most mundane of chats with her like we use to, about washing, the kids, the run up to Christmas, anything. Mums are irreplaceable and not having one is a rubbish club to join. xx

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  47. I lost my mum to metastatic breast cancer 5 years ago, tomorrow would have been her 64th birthday, I find Mother's Day a really bittersweet occasion. I would have loved my mum to meet my babies and for them to love her as much as I do although I am not sure I would want them to deal with that gaping hole she left behind. Happy Mothers Day to all Mothers, with us or not x

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  48. 'She's dead' - so very familiar and a constant theme - still (I was 16) ... It IS delivered very matter of fact... but it hurts more again: now I love a man and have two children...
    -She died around Mother's Day
    - 25yrs ago this year
    -She died when she was 42 (my next birthday)

    This is year is a particularly crap yr.

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    1. I lost my mum when she was 52 , I was 23 mothers day is always hard .she never met any of my children.i will be 52 this year and have dreaded this year.as have my sisters too.ok to feel like this and get thru the year.hugsxx

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  49. Beautiful words we lost our Mum three years ago this coming May again big C. Luckily she met and helped us a lot with our three boys now 22, 10 and 8. Even today my youngest remembered grandma with fondness, we lost a very special lady who has left a big hole for us all. my husband has just gone to Asda to get his Mums present something I used to do but now just can't. Feeling the loss as you all do xx

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  50. Very beautifully written and so true. Often just wish mum was there to tell me it is ok when I feel like my parenting is going out of control, not to mention just the day to day stuff.

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  51. My mum died when I was 5 and I can really relate to the dread of mothers day before I became a mum. I used to hate the advertising emails that assume everyone has a mum they want to buy stuff for. Having kids does make it a lot nicer day x

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  52. This is the first year without my mum. Feels very sad not to be buying her a card this year. The big C is definitely on my hate list!!! Big hugs to everyone who's mum is watching over them in heaven xxx

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  53. Thanks for this blog. I lost my mum to a sudden brain haemorrhage 7 years ago and my husband's mum died 11 years ago. For years I dreaded Mother's Day. Last year was the first year we could celebrate as our daughter was 5 months. I've never missed mum more than in the first months after our daughter was born. It breaks my heart that our daughter will never know either of her grandmothers. It is the small everyday things that emphasise our loss.

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  54. This is as beautifully written as everything else I've read on your blog. And from what you've written here I'm sure your mum would be ridicoulsly proud of how you comfort and inspire other women every time you write. Enjoy your Mother's Day tomorrow. You deserve it x

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  55. Every single word. Thank you.

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  56. Beautifully done. I seldom cry for my mum as I literally never knew her. She died when I was 9 weeks old. This lovely piece of writing stopped me in my tracks and I shed some rare tears, in kind of a good way. I can't mourn HER because I didn't know her, but I can mourn what we never had together. I wish she'd met my children.

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  57. Lovely yet heartbreaking reading. My mum died from cancer 4 years ago, and I will always be grateful she got to be Granny for 10 years as well as Mum. Mother's Day is so bittersweet being a mum and a daughter without a mum. Hope you have a lovely Mother's Day with your little ones.

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  58. From one motherless mother to another. Also, I too have a son called Henry. My circus slightly different as my mum diagnosed with cancer when I was 3, she dies when I was 5. My daughter is now 3 and I too have been diagnosed with cancer… sigh!
    http://fortymumthing.com/2016/03/05/patchwork-mums/

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  59. Shitty shit. Crying. Lovely to read though and nice that you can enjoy Mother's Day tomorrow with your boys x

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  60. From one motherless mother to another. Also, I too have a son called Henry. My circus slightly different as my mum diagnosed with cancer when I was 3, she dies when I was 5. My daughter is now 3 and I too have been diagnosed with cancer… sigh!
    http://fortymumthing.com/2016/03/05/patchwork-mums/

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    1. How do you deal with this .? Must make you think so much more of your mum going thru this too.sending huvs to you xxx

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  61. I lost my dad to cancer on Boxing Day some years ago. and have the same feelings about him. It is gut wrenchingly difficult and he missed out on so much.

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  62. Thanks for this, in a similar boat and its nice (although sad) to read it from another's perspective.

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  63. I love this post it like someone sat in my head for the last year and a half! I'm 25 and this is my second mothers day without my mum I have a 3 year old so she was blessed enough to know her nanny it such a daunting thought of facing this second pregnancy without her as she was such a support through my first but I know how lucky I was to her the first time round! Big C took her too, thinking of all the mums without mum's tomorrow xx

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  64. Emma Mccafferty5 March 2016 at 20:04

    I love this post it like someone sat in my head for the last year and a half! I'm 25 and this is my second mothers day without my mum I have a 3 year old so she was blessed enough to know her nanny it such a daunting thought of facing this second pregnancy without her as she was such a support through my first but I know how lucky I was to her the first time round! Big C took her too, thinking of all the mums without mum's tomorrow xx

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  65. Wow ..... Lovely to hear someone shouting out loud the words I scream from within ...... Unless you're a member of 'the dead mothers society' you just don't quite get it x
    Happy Mother's Day to you x

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  66. My mum died when I was 16. She was hit by a distracted driver whilst walking. I avoided motherhood until I was 40 because I didn't think I could do it without her there. My son is 7 now. Being his mum has made Mother's Day bearable, even joyful, again. But those awkward conversations are still painful. Wishing us all happy Mother's Day tomorrow xx

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  67. I'm so sorry for all of you. I've experienced cancer first hand but thankfully not my mum, and I'm in tears just thinking of what that must be like for all of you. Wishing you all the strength this mothers day and many to come, and to Sarah, your mum would have been so proud. You're an inspiration to us all xxx

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  68. I don't often comment on posts. But I have just read this and had tears in my eyes. My mother dies in April 1989 and yes from Cancer when I was 13. Every time I here The Bangle 'Eternal Flame' number 1 at the time I think of the words "I watch you while you are sleeping' and I think it's about right. I hope I can pass the little quirks of my mother onto my children and also be a great loving mother, looking forward to Mother's Day.

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  69. I spent the day in a heap yesterday weeping. No-one really understands it, this week its because of Mother's Day - another occasion could be due to standing at the school gates and seeing all the grannies collecting the kids and realising that she never knew them, she will never know them. It sadly takes losing your mum to know the right thing to say to someone - its just shite, thats the truth of it. She would have been very proud of you - thats for sure. x

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  70. My mum died on 6th March 1978, when I was nearly 14 - this year, even though I cannot be there myself, a good friend is taking my bunch of carnations to her grave - its not often Mothers Day and the anniversary coincide, it seemed important. I'm grandma to 8 now, Mum never saw my kids, or their kids, and I feel her loss every day - its not tragic or painful, its just a bit sad. Yes even after 38 years - this is a beautiful piece of writing - thank you. x

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  71. What a lovely tribute to your mum. My mom passed 7 year's ago and people say time is a great healer but you never get over it you just cope but I never stop missing my mom or thinning about her. Tomorrow is hard and as you said all the adverts on tv make it all that bit more difficult. Thank you for sharing. Happy mother's day.

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  72. A friend of mine died of cancer recently, leaving a baby, who will grow up telling people 'my Mum died' as he's too young to ever know her..so this made me think of him. He's lucky he has an amazing dad but there will always be that big empty space where his mum should be. Happy mothers day to you all.

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  73. Thanks for sharing this, it really moved me. I can't empathise from the point of view of being a parent (I'm not) or losing parents (I have not) but your message of cherishing the people we've lost and the people we have in our lives is positive and hopeful. xxx

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  74. It's like you wrote my story...except for the age & the names of your boys. I have two boys, lost my mum before I married & had children (big C too) & hated the run up to Mother's Day for years. Working in a department store there was no escaping that Mother's Day was coming (the build up starts 15th Feb), at first it felt like a personal dig because I'd been so foolish to 'lose' my mum. The emphasis changed when I became a mum but I can't lie, it's still a day of huge mixed emotions. I went on to 'lose' my mother in law too, double whammy & now I sound like I'm really careless losing these key people!
    What I'd give to have them see my boys & how they're growing up, ask advice or just share a knowing glance.
    Love your blogs & book, makes me laugh til I cry & then cry til I laugh xxx

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  75. What beautiful words that have summed up the last 25 years of my life. Having lost my mum when I was 12, it took me a long time to realise that her loss was not something I was ever going to get over but something I was going to have to learn to live with. And that I have, granted a little less of myself than I once was. Having my daughter, Gwen, 2 and a half years ago was one of the best things to ever happen to me. But it brought to the surface such a renewed feeling of grief, I thought I would suffocate in its grip. My daughter means the world to me and like you say, mother's day holds a new lease of life, a day where you play a new role;a happy one. But this is a time when learning to live with the loss of my beautiful mother, Gwen's grandmother is a new, intensified battle.

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  76. My Mum died 7 weeks ago tomorrow, and it still doesn't feel real. Tomorrow is going to be going through the motions for my daughters, and finding a quiet space to cry. We don't even have a cause of death yet (very sudden, possibly linked to a long term condition).

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  77. Lovely words. This resonates a lot. My mum died just under three years ago thanks to that shitty disease. I was lucky enough to have her there to see me get married and become a mum but I lost her when I was expecting my second child (she never knew..we knew that she'd not be around to see him/her that I just felt it would be too cruel to tell her). There is this assumption in society that we all have mums and they are around. It's really hard in particular at this time of year to be one of those people who don't. Big hugs to you and everyone reading this who sadly doesn't have their mum around. Remember you're here because of her, she'll always be with you x

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  78. My mum passed away from the dreaded C 12.5 years ago. I dont think it gets any easier. She had 5 years of knowing her only grandson. He's 17 now. He still remembers some things and we often talk about her. I miss her every day. Like you said it's the ordinary day to day things that she's missing out on, I'm missing out on and my son is missing out on that make it hard. Enjoy mothers day with your children xxx

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  79. Thank-you for posting this. We lost my mum unexpectedly on Christmas Eve 2015 and I have been struggling with the thought of being without her tomorrow but I have to be there for my own 2 beautiful girls. Instead of buying flowers as I would have done previously, I have bought a balloon with a message on so I can let it fly free. Thinking of everyone without their mum tomorrow and every day.

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  80. Thank-you for posting this. We lost my mum unexpectedly on Christmas Eve 2015 and I have been struggling with the thought of being without her tomorrow but I have to be there for my own 2 beautiful girls. Instead of buying flowers as I would have done previously, I have bought a balloon with a message on so I can let it fly free. Thinking of everyone without their mum tomorrow and every day.

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  81. Thank-you for posting this. We lost my mum unexpectedly on Christmas Eve 2015 and I have been struggling with the thought of tomorrow without my lovely mum but have to be there for my own 2 beautiful girls. Instead of buying flowers as I would have done previously, I have bought a balloon with a message on so I can let it fly free. Thinking of everyone without their mum tomorrow and every day. Xx

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  82. 10 years in April I lost my mum to a heart attack. She's with me every day in every thing I do, every story I tell my grandchildren. As you say it's the ordinary days that can be the worst when emotions hit for without explanation.

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  83. Your Mum would be so proud and I am so sorry you all have that gap in your lives. Have a lovely day tomorrow x

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  84. This resonates so much. I lost my mum when I was 20 - nearly 10 years ago and it still floors me. I got married in June and this year I have my place in the day, celebrating my mother in law. We also miscarried in August. So if ever i have needed and wanted my own mum its been this year. I expect tomorrow will be very bittersweet. I've got my place in the day but I am also not only a motherless child but a childless mother.
    Thanks for writing a post that is so similar in sentiment to so many i have written before. Always good to see someone else express what you feel yourself.
    Hope tomorrow is a positive one for you.

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  85. Unfortunately I find myself on the other end of this shitty situation, I recently lost my baby half way through my pregnancy. I've really been battling with other peoples opinions of mothers day, my family has been so scared ill turn into a snotty puffy eyed blob that they have actually banned mothers day, I dare not tell them i'm actually not that bothered. Anyway its really nice to read this post made me cry a little X

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  86. My mother in law died 5 years ago & my husband finds Mothers Day really hard. I find it difficult to remind him that he needs to go with my boys to sort out a card for me, so that they aren't upset by forgetting me. My Dad died 4 months before her, & Fathers Day is the same for me.

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  87. My response is always "Is it father's day this weekend? Gosh..." I know full well it is.

    Different parent, same scenario.

    All I cannot do is wish you a lot of love- you know the platitudes by now. (I'd kill for one of his badly constructed cheese sandwiches right now....never known anyone else make them so badly).

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  88. It's immensely sad that your mum never knew what it was like to be a grandma. My parents are at the age now that I am aware of the fact that I may not have too many more Mother's Days to celebrate with her, and I do wonder, as a relatively older dad with a condition (type 2 diabetes) which is not overly conducive to a long life-span, whether I will get the chance to be a granddad myself.

    It's sad not to be able to celebrate Mother's Day with your own mother, just as it must be equally horrible for those mothers who have lost children young not to be able to celebrate Mother's Day with them.

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  89. Thanks for this. My mum just passed away on 10 Feb after a short illness with cancer. This is also my first Mother's Day, my little girl is 8 months. I'm just finding it all sooo hard thinking about all the things mum wil miss and how much I miss her. Too be honest I think I'll be glad when this weekend is over. Hopefully we will all get through the day.

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  90. Wonderful post, I go through the same thing on father's day thanks to the big C and also am always trying to avoid tumbleweed moments at work.
    This mother's day I am sending the husband and baby to my mother-in-laws so I can spend quality time with my mum (once they've given me the tatty card and random present of course!)

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  91. It's been really comforting to read not only your blog, but the comments section. It helps to know there are many others feeling exactly as I do this Mothering Sunday. I lost my mum 5 years ago next week. She died of cancer just a few weeks after my (only) son was born, and was hospitalised the day before I had him as she had a stroke (the first sign of the cancer). She never got to meet him, and it haunts me every day. She was so worried for me as I was on my own. Since then, I have graduated university and qualified as a teacher. My son is doing just fine, and it pains me that she never got to see me make it good, or him blossom into the wonderful boy he is. My siblings and I are equally lost without her. I send loving thoughts to each of you today, and hope you find some solace through the words on this page, as have I. Xxx

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  92. So very true for me too. My mother will have been gone for 20 years this August (cancer again) and she never met any of her grandchildren. I've missed her every day

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  93. Cancer does indeed have a lot to answer to. I lost my dad to it and what you said above is precisely what happens to me on father's day. Thinking of all you ladies and gents today who have lost your mum x

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  94. I lost my mum 32 years ago also to cancer. I am now 64 so have been without her love and protection half of my life but she is with me every day in my heart. I am grateful that I am still here and able to enjoy my wonderful family of two daughters and six grandchildren and my best tribute to mum is to be there for them. Love you mum and my thoughts are with everyone who has lost a parent.

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  95. Such beautiful, honest, moving and heartfelt words. Every one of them resonated with me. I lost my mum to motor neurone disease almost seven years ago. I am now a mother to two small boys, though the youngest never met her. I particularly feel the sadness of never being able to recover the bits of my childhood that only she will remember. There are still so many questions I want to ask as I watch my little ones grow up but there is no one to answer them. Thinking of all those who are mumless - always, and particularly today.

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  96. If I just say I know how you feel and you said everything I've said and felt in the last 21 years. I lost my mum too, to cancer, she was 47, I was 25. It was hard before kids and still hard after having my 2 boys, now 16 and 14, who she never met. I treasure every moment with my boys and tell them often that their grandma would have spoilt them rotten. She's always with me in my thoughts and I see it in how I'm bringing up my own. I have a lot to be grateful for a wonderful mum who made me the person I am today. My thoughts go to everyone day, take care xxx

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  97. Thank you for writing this, it echoes everything I feel. I lost my mum to ovarian cancer at 16. I'm now 38, a mother of two and feel her loss more now than I ever did back then. I adore how excited my children (7 and 4) are to celebrate Mother's Day, but it only increases my loss and grief. I don't show anyone my grief, least of all my husband (he didn't have the chance to meet her, we met years later), I'm most vulnerable around my children. I hate that they didn't get to know her and I really feel their loss on not having a maternal grandmother as they grow up, love to all xxx

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  98. Thank you for your beautiful words. I lost Mum when I was pregnant with my first child. (I often think describing the timing as such comes across a bit melodramatic, but it emphasises the cruelty of it) She would have been the most indulgent grandmother. It is still the thing that saddens me the most that she and her wonderful grandchildren didn't get to meet. I have great memories of a fabulous childhood and I am at a stage where I can talk to my children about her and what she was like and what she would be like with them and it's all happy stuff. They kind of know her as best as is possible in the situation. Her essence thrives! Love to everyone. X

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  99. Hope your carvery today was a pleasant one, you ate lots and there wasn't too much lobbing of food around. Thought of you today and hoped you were OK. Much love Sarah. I do love this post. xxx

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  100. Thankyou for your honest and so true words, I feel the same around father's day. I lost my dad to prostate cancer when my son was 11 months old. He is now 4 and has a 16 month old brother. Not a day goes by when I don't think about my dad and what we are all missing from our lives. He was so excited to be a grandad and he would have been the best x

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  101. Thank you for this. It's really helped me to read this today. It would have been dad's birthday, and we lost him to 'the big C' too, last October. It's just another one of those 'first ______ without dad' moments which we've been coming to terms with. And you're absolutely right, he will never not be missing, and never not be missed.

    So thank you once again for your beautiful, heartfelt, wise words. I hope your own words bring as much comfort to you as they have to me! Happy Mother's Day.

    Dom

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  102. I enjoyed reading your story. My story is the same except my mother is alive and well and lives 20minutes from me. A hard woman i made a tough decision to protect my children from her.

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  103. I also lost my Mom in June 2015- this will be the 1st Mother's Day without my MOM- I am gonna let off balloons and a lighted lantern in honor of Mother's Day to my Mom in Heaven. I Miss her so much

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  104. Thank you for this post. My mum died 18 months ago and although I had a lovely family day yesterday I felt I was slightly going through the motions. I've always considered Mothers Day a day of giving so it wasn't quite the same albeit I'm a mum myself. Made worse in that no one bloody mentioned my own mum and acknowledged it might be a difficult day for me which led to me being in tears at the end of the day. Why do people have to tiptoe around the issue of death so much?

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    1. they literally do not know what to say, sadly. It's so awful and in your case, so recent that it just... defies their boggle! Only someone who has had a similar sort of loss would say ''gosh, I'm so sorry, I hope you're okay'' and just be direct but not OTT.

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  105. Thank you for this.
    I was 18 when my mum was diagnosed, thankfully/luckily she was one of the survivors and I was so grateful for that and really realised how much I appreciated her. Now at 28 with a 3 year old who loves her grandma dearly I appreciate having her here to a whole new level.
    Reading this just reminded me how different things could have been xx

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  106. This precisely, but for my dad. Isn't cancer horrific? I was 13 and he slowly withered away over a year, died a few days before Christmas. And yes, I wasn't ''that'' bothered for a few years after the initial period of mourning... selfish, busy teenager, possibly just blocking it out totally, I have no idea. Anyway, now that I am married, have kids and think of how much things have changed (he died at the end of 89) and how thrilled he'd have been with his grandchildren and the internet (he predicted it! We were the only family with a PC as early as 1984 in Cape Town - he kept trying to explain about this ''thing'' where computers would be able to talk to each other and everyone would roll their eyes apparently). A wonderful, brilliant man. Dead from a filthy brain tumour. I can think of so many total space-wasting oxygen thieves we could do without. Why must the good ones go?

    Anyway, you write so well, sums it up perfectly!

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  107. This almost perfectly sums up Mother's Day for me. I lost my mum at 17 (brain haemorrhage rather than cancer).

    This time of year is one of the hardest I get even though its been almost 19 years since I last saw her. I've had an emotional week, with my daughter (4) getting twice as many cuddles. Its the best way to stop dwelling on my emotions and turn it more positive.

    The other is the time of year she died (OCtober). I get ratty for the whole month. I hope she would have been proud of what I've done in the last couple of decades, she never met my husband who I met at University or the granddaughter who looks just like I did at her age.

    Lump in my throat and hugs to all those who have lost a parent. Its complete shit but I've always found comfort that something of them always lives on in you and your children

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  108. Sorry I'm coming to this a bit late. It a,ways makes me sad for everyone who has lost their mothers when I read things like this. I haven't lost my mother' and in fact these day live her as an Aging 70+ year old. It makes me sad because my mother has never cared about being a mother, has always continued to live her own life and never engaged at all with being a grandparent even though she lives with 2 of them! I am so sorry that your mother was taken from you so young when you all deserved her to be there for all those special moments. I find Mother's Day difficult because I experience that emotional stress of knowing that despite being right there in my house every day, my mum will never 'be there' for any of us until the day she dies, which will probably be when she's 110 which is just so unfair when there are so many people out there who have lost someone so special and deserving of longer with their families.

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  109. I'm american, so I have another month before the Mother's Day ad blitz starts in, but this really resonates with me. At 10 years out, it isn't something I think of every day, but it sneaks up at the oddest times.

    My mother died suddenly the Thursday before Mother's day and I'm a stepmother without children of my own (by choice). Mother's Day is emotionally fraught.

    The second worst thing is the need to frantically reassure other people that it's ok before I kill the conversation.

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  110. My mum is still here but my parents divorced when I was 5 and for reasons unknown my sister and I were split up. Mum and my sister moved to Kent while dad and I stayed in South Wales. I saw them 3 times a year at Easter, Summer hols and Christmas for a week then normality resumed. We did that until I could drive and ferry myself there. It was excruciatingly hard saying goodbye over and over. As a child the loss felt permanent and even now I get upset and I'm 36.
    I had my baby boy 7 months ago and there are times I've needed my mum and while she's not here physically, she's on the end of the phone which is great.
    Sometimes I could do with a cuddle though.

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  111. Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how much I identify with this. I'm about to become a mum for the first time without my mum or dad here to witness it (both the big C, both a few years ago). I am so sad that my baby girl wont have them in her life, and that my parents will never know her.

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  112. yep ,cancer does have a lot to answer for. Sorry, just trying not to well up. Lost my mum six years ago and it makes me v sad she never knew her granddaughter. I am noticing now all the support other mums have from grandmothers.. and my dad just doesn't know the answer to lots of questions.. Thanks for writing this.

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  113. I was 10 when my mum died, and I didn't know what I had missed until I became a mum. I thought this whole article was spot on.

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  114. Thanks for this
    My mum didn't die of cancer
    She died just suddenly
    She wasn't just my mum she was my best friend too and we did EVERYTHING together
    I was 9 when she passed and being the one who found her makes me remember that day like it was just yesterday
    I still miss her everyday and feel as though my kids and I are missing out
    Your story has given me comfort that I'm not the only one who feels this way

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  115. I lost my mother to suicide when I was 6, my brother just turned 3 the night my mother died. I am now 40 years old....and mother's day still cripples me. Not so much as I am still mourning the lose of my mother, but I am mourning not knowing my mother. She was never spoke about, and her family we were kept from. I have no real memories of my mother either due to childhood trauma. I feel like a complete basket case this time of year......and how to you explain that to people you are mourning not knowing what it is like to have a mom. It was 34 years ago.....you think I should be over all of this now. And I cannot have children so there is that too. Ack....what a day. Maybe a good day to stay in bed. Thank you for letting me get this out. And thank you for this article.

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  116. I literally read the above and burst into tears you summed up how I have felt for years. I lost my mum to pancreatic cancer when I was 24, she was 57. I know I wasn't young, but I think that's why it made it harder to come to terms with as I was about to embark on new life changing experiences knowing that she wouldn't be there to see them with me. I'm a mum now to a beautiful little 2yr old girl (mini diva lol). In some ways when she was born the first 3 months were hard and all I wanted was my mum to be there, but I coped like you and we got to two years no lost limbs mine or hers lol. Thank you for showing me others are in the same boat. your book is fab!!!

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  117. Exactly this. Thank you. xx

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  118. Lovely post. My Mum died just under 3 years ago so this is my 3rd mother's day without her...and my third as a mother myself. Each year it's a little easier to stomach, but the feeling loss is always there!

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  119. My dad died (at the age of 42) just before I was 15, just 4 days before Father's Day. The night before I was sat on his lap, still a 'Daddy's Girl' & his presents for the Sunday were wrapped up & hidden in my room. He went out to play golf & never came home - he had a heart attack that they said caused him to die before he hit the floor. The police came to tell my mum & me at my aunt's house & I broke the news to my brother.

    I'm 43 now, with a husband & children of my own. My dad lives forever in my memory & my family have 'memories' of him too because, even after 29 years he remains alive in my heart. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of my dad.....& there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss him. I have made Father's Day special for my husband in tribute to my wonderful dad xxx

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  120. Perfect description of my feelings about today-My Mum too has a beach and there are so many other days in the year I would rather 'celebrate' missing her than today.Thank you for this-made me feel so proud to be living my life as she would have wanted and hopefully raising my little girl in a way to make her proud x

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  121. Wow at the age of 44 that is exactly how I have felt for the last 22 years, and sadly it has never got any better with time. I have 3 boys 22, 21 and 17 who spoilt me today, my mum would have been a great nana to them all and my life would have been so much happier and better with her here. She did not die of the big C she was murdered so I live with that anger too. I love you mum and miss you so much x x

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  122. I lost my mum to cancer last summer- first mothers day without her. Not a mum yet myself though desperately trying! Thought I might get through the day without crying having made it to 10pm ....but reading this has opened the flood gates. Think I needed it, so thank you. And happy mothers day to everyone, after all we've all had a mother xx

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  123. I'm 33 now, I lost my mom when I was 5. Sometimes I'm still not ok. And I can definitely relate to this. Without even thinking about it I've found myself avoiding having to tell people she has passed. Sometimes I don't mind talking about her. Other days, I just can't.

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